While drying aids aren’t necessary, they’re very quickly becoming an industry standard.
Using a drying aid will help to preserve the finish of your car.
There’s no point washing your car if you’re just going to let it sit and collect water spots or even scratch it during the drying process.
The best drying aid (Meguiars D15601), offers reduced water spotting at a very cheap price.
There are many other great options below, but, if you’re able to get a container of D15601, it comes highly recommended.
What Is A Drying Aid?
Drying aids are products that are used just before/during the drying process.
Once you’ve washed the car and move on to the drying stage, simply apply the product to the towel that you’re using or the car itself.
The whole purpose of doing this is to lubricate the car so that your towel cannot scratch it.
Using drying aids will also significantly decrease the chance of water spots and even leave behind a high-gloss finish with enhanced protection.
Types Of Drying Aid
A “drying aid” isn’t a specific product, more of a description/category.
Drying aids can often be:
Waterless Washes / Quick Detailers
Rinseless Wash Products
As well as actual “drying agents” such as Spartan Chemicals’ Xtreme Drying Agent. However, this is more for commercial drive through washes though.
In theory, if the product dries streak free, and requires no rinsing, it can be used as a drying aid.
That said, some are better than others.
5 Best Drying Aids
The effectiveness of a drying aid can be pretty subjective.
As long as it helps to prevent scratches and minimize water spotting, it’s done its job.
In the list below, I’ll cover what I believe to be the best drying aids available.
All of the products below can be used as a drying aid, but many of them have other uses too.
If you’re in the market for a rinseless wash product and a drying aid, you may choose ONR.
If you’re looking for a quick detailer and a drying aid you may choose adams detail spray.
Just because one product worked well for me, doesn’t mean it will be the perfect fit for you.
Meguiars D15601 X-Press Spray Wax
If you’re even slightly into car detailing, you’ll probably already know about this product.
Meguiars Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax is one of the most recommended products I’ve ever seen.
It’s also known as D156 or D15601, and comes highly recommended across many forums, videos and articles.
Obviously it’s main use is as a spray wax. However, it’s just as good when used as a drying aid.
It’s super easy to use.
Simply spray the product onto your wet car and wipe it dry using a microfiber towel.
Because it’s a spray wax, not only does it prevent water spotting, with its enhanced water beading, it leaves behind a deep, dark and shiny finish.
You’ll also find that it’s super flexible and can be applied anytime and anywhere.
The product can be applied in direct sunlight and even dries clear on plastic trims.
Unfortunately, despite it being an outstanding product there is one downside.
Meguiars D156 is only available in 1 gallon containers. This means you have to buy $40-$50 of product at a time.
You’ll also need to have your own spray bottles, or buy the PBMG bundle that comes with a bottle.
If you’re able to front the money for 1 gallon of product, it still works out to be fairly priced. Especially if you consider the fact it’s both a spray wax and a drying aid.
Duragloss Automotive Aquawax
If you’re not able to buy a gallon of meguiars spray wax, maybe Duragloss Aquawax is for you.
Available in a 22 Oz spray bottle or 1 gallon container, Duragloss 951 Automotive Aquawax offers slightly better accessibility.
Similar to D15601, this product is also a spray wax.
The versality is always great. I love using a drying aid that can enhance the finish of my vehicle, add hydrophobic qualities and prevent water spotting at the same time.
Again, you can apply this almost anywhere and anytime. It’s safe to use on trim, however, I’d think twice about using it in direct sunlight.
While it doesn’t necessary look like much, 951 Aquawax is highly recommended among detailing enthusiasts, normally coming 2nd to D156.
That said, if you’re looking for a value option, you can buy 1 gallon of this product for a lot less than 1 gallon of X-Press Spray Wax.
Adams Detail Spray
On to the quick detailers.
Adams is a brand that I absolutely love and their detail spray is among the best, but it is also considered “pricey”.
This detail spray has over 2100 reviews on amazon and will result in a 100% streak free finish.
It’s safe to use on any surface and can be applied to a wet or dry car.
All you need to do is spray the product onto your car and wipe it dry using your favourite drying towel.
If you don’t already know, quick detailers are super versatile. You can use them as a waterless wash, clay bar lube, drying aid and much more.
At full price, the 16oz bottle can seem fairly expensive. However, at the time of writing this article it’s on sale for a fraction of the price.
If you’re willing to buy a gallon of this product, it will cost a similar price to the other products on this list.
Chemical Guys Speed Wipe
The Chemical Guys Speed Wipe is another quick detailer that’s designed to enhance the finish of a car in a matter of seconds.
It’s 100% wax free and is formulated to deliver a perfect finish, but how does it fair as a drying aid?
From what I’ve seen, outstanding.
Speed wipe was formulated using all new gloss enhancing polymers that result in a deep gloss finish that’s 100% streak free.
It can be applied to both a wet and dry car, and it’s super easy to wipe off.
Speed wipe also leaves your paint with a thin protective layer that works together with waxes and sealants to give a slick and smooth high gloss shine.
As well as the increased shine, Speed wipe is said to offer water beading that lasts for weeks as well as additional UV Protection.
It’s also by far the cheapest product on this list with 16oz of product coming in just under a tenner.
Speed wipe is by far the best value for money you’re going to get without buying a gallon of product at a time.
Optimum No Rinse
I’m a big fan of rinseless wash products, specifically Optimum No Rinse.
Rinseless washes are by far the most versatile detailing product after all-purpose cleaner.
It doesn’t matter whether you want a drying aid, quick detailer, rinseless wash, or clay lube, ONR can do it all.
As long as you have spray bottles and dilute the product to the right ratio, you’ll be surprised at what it can do.
In normal circumstances ONR allows you to wash your car with very limited water. Leaving behind a streak free finish that requires 0 rinsing.
While it doesn’t necessarily offer the same protective qualities as a spray wax or quick detailer, it does exactly what it says on the bottle.
ONR is the best way to get a shiny, streak free finish without the need for wax/wash hybrid products.
It’s 100% safe to use on any surface and offers the most lubrication out of the products listed.
If you really want to avoid paint marring and water spotting, I cannot recommend this product enough.